US-based multinational automotive manufacturer Ford has announced plans to invest up to £230m ($31.58m) at its vehicle transmission facility in Halewood in the UK. The investment will be used to transform the factory to build Ford’s first electric vehicle components in Europe.

The Halewood facility was selected due to its record on quality, competitiveness and the strong skills base and commitment of its employees.

The site is scheduled to start producing electric power units in mid-2024. Production capacity is planned to be about 250,000 units a year. The investment is supported by the UK government through its Automotive Transformation Fund and will help safeguard existing jobs.

In a press release, president of Ford of Europe Stuart Rowley said: “This is an important step, marking Ford’s first in-house investment in all-electric vehicle component manufacturing in Europe. It strengthens further our ability to deliver 100% of Ford passenger vehicles in Europe being all-electric and two-thirds of our commercial vehicle sales being all-electric or plug-in hybrid by 2030.

“We also want to thank the UK government for its support for this important investment at Halewood, which reconfirms Ford’s continuing commitment to the UK and our position as a leading investor in this country’s auto industry and technological base.”

UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng commented: “Ford’s decision to build its first electric vehicle components in Europe at its Halewood site is further proof that the UK remains one of the best locations in the world for high-quality automotive manufacturing. In this highly competitive, global race to secure electric vehicle manufacturing, our priority is to ensure the UK reaps the benefits.”